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Trauma And The Pathway To Healing

Written by: Amie Dean, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Over the last ten years that I’ve helped other empaths heal their wounds, I’ve had the privilege of holding and helping them to transmute some of their deepest traumas, ranging from extreme neglect and abuse to the painful affects of growing up in a household with a parent with an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder.

I have discovered that while no two stories are alike, there is a thread of similarity that runs through all stories of trauma. We all have a history. It’s etched within our mind, a past that we might only have passing memories of or have regrets of, but nonetheless it defines our human experience. Your past determines the decisions you make today and all the decisions you make today will determine the decisions you make tomorrow.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly learning what to do in order to avoid our pain, and how to move towards what feels good, or, maybe just what feels not so bad. You know the feeling. You like that, you don’t like that…in our fragmentation, we can easily be drawn into the minds patterns keeping us stuck unbelieving we are the masked version of ourselves.

Trauma is an event that has caused significant distress and resulted in an emotional wound. Our wounds begin in childhood, but trauma can occur at any age. Often our deepest trauma wounds are our inner child wounds.

Trauma is typically classified into three separate categories: acute, chronic, and complex/developmental. It’s important to understand the differences between these types of traumas so we can better understand how our inner child wounds begin.

Acute trauma refers to a single distressing event, such as being in a car accident, acute trauma is typically experienced in adulthood.

Chronic trauma is when you have experienced several trauma events, they could either be repeating events or experiencing new events for a prolonged period of time, an example would be ongoing domestic violence, repeated natural disasters, and long-standing chronic illness. Chronic trauma can happen in either adulthood or childhood.

Complex/Developmental trauma is experiencing multiple and varied traumatic events beginning in early childhood. Most complex trauma originates in childhood, with about 80% being the mistreatment from a child's parents 1 This is the type of trauma that has resulted in deep hurt and wounding for your inner child. Some examples include physical, sexual or emotional abuse by a caregiver, family member, or trusted friend.

Developmental trauma results in deep consequences in interpersonal relationships in adulthood- causing those shame, abandonment, disempowerment and survival wounds addressed in the previous chapter. The biggest difference between these two types of trauma is that with complex trauma there is a betrayal of trust that occurs, it happens during childhood, and is relationally oriented.

From The Darkness To The Light

“I am terrified of what I might do” were the first words I remembered Annabelle saying in our initial session. She described a life wracked with pain and trauma, betrayal, and grief. After childhood experiences of ongoing abuse, Annabelle was soon diagnosed with Bipolar disorder with classic dissociative symptoms. And while I was used to hearing terrible stories of trauma, Annabelle's story was one that touched me deeply, and her transformation was even more miraculous.

She had a million reasons to be broken ‒ her life had completely fallen apart. After her mental health diagnosis, she did what anyone could do, and vowed to live her life in the best way possible. Deeply spiritual and open to possibility, she didn’t let this stop her. Despite her ongoing challenges with mania and depression, she built a successful business helping others with a business partner she trusted. Financially, emotionally and spiritually, things were working, and she was proud of the life she built.

When routinely going about her day, she came right up against a reminder of her childhood trauma of severe abuse. Soon after, a spiral effect took place: the dissociation led to several incidents of dissociating and putting herself in harm's way while also destroying the business and partnership she worked so hard to build. Everything that she had worked so hard for was entirely gone in just a few months. That’s where our work came in.

Her biggest strength was her ability to recognize her divine self, that even though she couldn’t see her or even experience her directly just yet she was open and ready for change. I could tell she was ready to heal this required a vulnerability to approach her mind-body and spirit from a different perspective and the courage to seek support and the wisdom to trust a higher power other than the traumatized parts. Despite her whole world coming apart, she told me she would remain committed to this process and expressed that she knew healing was possible. We worked together to first tap into the Higher Self within before addressing the traumatized parts.

Little by little Annabelle discovered this light within her and was able to turn it on at will. It was no longer a concept of “this is who I am,”; it was becoming a reality. By the time we approached the traumatized/wounded inner child of her, she was ready to work through it, noticing a distinct difference between her Higher Self and the sub-personalities that have been running her life all this time. This detachment and light of her Higher Self helped these younger parts to heal and find peace in the suffering.

When we ended our work together, she was shining like a light I had never seen before. I could see it in her eyes; she was back home within herself. She remembered the inner tools to go forward with resiliency that gave her so much empowerment. And while the pain from the past was fully healed, she expressed that she knows the spiritual awakening journey is ongoing, one that she chooses with all her heart.

You likely have your own story of distressing experiences and/or a history of trauma, even if you don’t have the happy ending of your story just yet, know that it is completely possible to heal the traumatic wounds that have kept you stuck. You may have even dedicated time to therapy, and even if you make significant progress, it can sometimes feel as if there is still more to heal. It could feel like an endless journey.

However, true and lasting healing is possible and I will be sharing unique ways to deepen your healing journey. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself as we explore trauma from several perspectives: your brain, your body, and your spirit. When you understand the full picture of your wounding, you will be much better equipped to heal these wounds.

Trauma and Your Inner Child

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), almost 35 million children have experienced one or more types of severe trauma (1) This study through the CDC using the Adverse Childhood Experiences survey. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) occur in childhood between the ages of 0-17 and are considered to be likely traumatic and preventable. ACE’s are also known as Developmental trauma.

Examples of ACEs include physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, physical and emotional neglect, growing up with a parent addicted to drugs or diagnosed with a mental illness, witnessing a mother that experienced abuse, losing a parent to abandonment or divorce, having a family member in jail, a family member attempting or completing suicide, being bullied, experiencing racism, and the death of a parent or close relative. However, this is not an exhaustive list. Anything in a child’s experience that contributed to a lack of safety, bonding, or stability that impacted well-being is considered traumatic.

We will more deeply explore how Developmental trauma affects your brain and your body. We will explore how trauma affects you on the spiritual path, trauma from the Soul’s perspective and helpful tools and resources to begin building a level of resilience that transcends the pain of the past

Even if you do not believe you have experienced trauma, know that one way we protect ourselves from feeling the pain is to downplay our experiences of distress we experienced thinking thoughts such as “ I shouldn’t complain about my childhood, many people had it worse than I did” “At least I had…” .” “I may have been yelled at a lot as a child, but it wasn’t so bad as being physically abused’

It is the human condition to have some imprint of trauma in childhood or whether we can see the thread of how it affects your life today or if you felt that you.

So far we have been exploring direct trauma, which is when a traumatic event happens directly to you. Then there is vicarious trauma, also known as secondary trauma, which is an indirect traumatic experience that occurs when you are exposed to traumatic information. Often this is referred to as situations in which helping professionals (such as counselors, law enforcement, child abuse investigators, health care professionals, animal shelter workers, etc) are faced with traumatic content. For example, healing a detailed traumatic story from someone else about people and/or animals and seeing disturbing images or hearing about them. While this is common amongst helping professionals, anyone can be exposed to second-hand trauma.

A study in the journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, discovered that children may be vicariously traumatized as well from hearing about the trauma of friends and family. One research study examined was a series of focus groups brought together to analyze the impact of domestic violence on preschool children from the perspective of their mothers. The researchers discovered that the children were highly aware of the violence in the home, but were deeply influenced. All children experienced heightened fears that affected their well-being and children who didn’t witness the violence, but just heard the fighting, filled in the gaps with their imagination, creating magnified fears.

Emotional Resilience As The Foundation For Living An Awakened Life

Resilience is the ability to recover, or bounce back from, difficult circumstances. One of the important ingredients for trauma healing is to build what is known as the “Window of Tolerance '' this is your resilience window that determines how much you can handle or take on at any given time. When your window of tolerance shuts it leads to hyperarousal (heightened emotion such as anxiety) or hyperarousal feeling depression, numbness). The goal is to widen your window of tolerance, and your resilience so that you are less likely to swing like a pendulum back and forth between these two states. The more resilient you are, the more empowered you feel.

There is a deep reservoir of resiliency within you, regardless of what you have been through. Just having a desire to heal is enough to activate this will within you.

Self Forgiveness and Compassion

Trauma survivors tend to have very strong inner critic sub-personalities. There is this tendency to blame yourself for what you have been through, but no matter what you have been through, self-compassion and forgiveness are necessary to fully and completely heal. Many times, women might be fatigued by expressing compassion and forgiveness outwardly before their own inner tank of love and appreciation has been filled. Therefore it’s important to understand the positive impact of self-compassion and self-forgiveness. There is a difference between self-forgiveness and self-compassion. Self-compassion means to be kind to yourself, to be understanding that you would not intentionally choose suffering for yourself. It means choosing mindful self-awareness, checking in when you are in need of more love and kindness and soothing the hurting inner child deep within. Self-forgiveness is a reconciliation with the guilt, shame and pain you have suffered from in the past. It doesn’t mean forgetting what has happened or how it happened, it is rather about understanding your humanness and how you will make mistakes time and time again. It is about choosing to release yourself from the handcuffs of the past with the understanding that you are not the mistakes you have made. With this awareness, you can learn from your mistakes- that is part of the human journey. Practicing self-compassion can help you forgive yourself as you can see yourself in a new light, witnessing the innocence of your inner child

As you extend compassion to yourself, you are accepting yourself. . I encourage you to check in with yourself to see if you are as kind to yourself as you are to others. Or if you have lost the connection to your heart altogether. Even if you feel this somewhere inside, it is not your fault. The castle of our heart closes when we experience too much pain, it is protective and these sub-personalities within you have just been trying to keep you safe. Going forward, I suggest the daily compassion practice below to help you tap into the love that you are. Know that if you haven’t tried this before, it might be difficult to do this. You might find that shame or disgust or even anger arises from within you. If this happens, be gentle with yourself by taking breaks from the practice, and honoring where you are at. If you find these emotions keep you from being able to practice self-compassion, you may want to close your eyes, check in with the shame, disgust or anger and acknowledge its presence. You might say out loud: “I acknowledge I am feeling (emotion) as I attempt to give myself compassion. I choose to be kind to myself, this process of self-love takes time” This is a turning towards your inner child, even if you are unable to give yourself the utmost compassion, know that acknowledgment and kindness towards whatever arises within you, is the first big step of the journey home to your heart.

Self Compassion Daily Affirmations

Turning towards your inner child every day is incredibly important for healing. Find the words that make the most sense for you but here are some ideas to help. I invite you to either say these in front of a mirror with your hand over your heart, or writing them down and then closing your eyes with your hand over your heart to feel the impact of the words, or you can also say these words aloud to a photo of your younger self if you have one.

To reconnect with your inner child:

“I’m so very sorry that you went through so much”

“I love you little one”

“I am here for you”

When you’re having a hard day:

“I choose to be kind to myself”

“I’m doing the best I can under these conditions”

“I’m having a hard time today, like so many people are, I choose to love and compassion for myself and all beings suffering in this moment”

“I’m experiencing an emotional trigger so I deserve even more compassion for myself right now, I choose to love myself through these painful emotions”

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Amie Dean, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Amie Dean is a certified clinical trauma counselor and an Ascension Coach. She helps driven, empathic women, struggling with self-criticism and not feeling good enough, heal their inner child wounds so they can live an authentic, spiritually awakened life true to their souls mission. She is the founder of One Awakening, a transformational online community to heal core wounds together and awaken spiritually. In her signature Awakened Living Program, she is a guide for increased self-awareness and Higher Self realignment.



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